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This week for #TalkItUpTuesday we caught up with Kevin Parlett, Multimedia Manager for VP Racing Fuels. Kevin is an avid RC and full sized car racer with major passion for the industry.
LiveRC: Kevin, you happen to be someone in our industry who people probably know very little about if at all, what is your job and who do you work for?
Kevin Parlett: I am the Multimedia Manager for VP Racing Fuels and while I might not be known well in the RC community, I am no stranger to the hobby. I started RC racing as a kid and did 1/8th nitro offroad competitively as a teen until I started racing real cars. I just got back into the hobby the last few years with 1/8th and 1/10th offroad and love it!
LRC: We have seen some personnel changes over at VP, who currently handles most of the business for the VP Hobby Fuels?
KP: The VP Hobby Fuels side of the business is managed by Kelley Hendell. This year we changed our fuel to be branded under the flagship VP Racing Fuels name, moved our RC Hobby Fuel packaging facility to Tennessee in an effort to get our fuels to hobby shops and customers quicker, as well as continually controlling the quality of our fuel and keeping up with an ever-evolving hobby.
LRC: We also recently saw a change from the use of the Powermaster name to VP Racing Hobby Fuels, why the change and what does this mean for the hobby fuel side of VP Fuels?
KP: In an effort to bring the hobby fuels into the main fray of the VP Racing Fuels brand, we decided to remove the Powermaster name from the fuels. Powermaster was a trusted name for years, but VP Racing Fuels has been trusted for over 45 years in all of motorsports, and we want to make it clear that we give the same dedication and attention to detail to our race fuels for real racing as we do for the RC hobby. As a real racer and rc racer I love seeing the hobby that taught me so much getting the proper attention from major motorsport brands like VP.
LRC: How did you get into remote control car racing?
KP: I got a 1/18th HPI Micro RS4 for Christmas when I was 10 and raced it at my local hobby shop during the winter until they transitioned to outdoor offroad racing the following spring. I went to one race, then got an RC10 stadium truck and the rest was history. By the time I was 15/16 I was racing 1/8 nitro buggy and truggy wherever my parents would allow me to drag them to ROAR and RC Pro Series races in the Mid Atlantic. The last race I did was in 2006 at the RC Pro Series race at the Tiltyard of which I still have my Kyosho Inferno as it sits from that day, dirt on the tires and all. After that I turned 16, started racing real cars and never had time for RC racing anymore. It would be 13 years before I ever went to another RC race again.
LRC: Another thing that people might not know is that RC is just one of many hobbies for you, what are some of the others?
KP: After I stopped RC racing I immersed myself in real racing. Starting with drag racing my crappy first car, then autocross and then eventually into road racing at a high level which I still do to this day. In that process I have applied a ton of the skills I learned from RC racing and carried that over into building, fabricating, maintaining and racing my own race cars and race team successfully for over a decade. I also have experience crew chiefing and working in the highest levels of sports car racing like World Challenge, IMSA and Trans Am. RC racing opened a world of opportunities for me and ive certainly enjoyed the ride so far.
LRC: What is Apex Garage?
KP: Apex Garage is my race team and social media outlet for all the build content, race content and shenanigans we get into racing all over the country. It has featured the entire build process of our Time Attack Infiniti G35, Drift LS3 Swapped 350Z, Mazda Spec MX5, Nissan Skyline R32 and a bunch of other awesome projects we have coming up this winter. Give us a follow on IG/FB @apex.garage and check out our YouTube series by the same name. Ive been thinking about doing some RC content on there as well, and maybe this conversation is the final catalyst to that haha.
LRC: Do you plan on doing any rc races in 2020/2021?
KP: I am hoping to get out to a bunch of RC races in 2021 between work travels and racing travels. We as a company at VP think it’s important for us to have a presence at the races that make this hobby what it is, and im looking forward to attending a bunch of those… and of course racing in them! Some of the ones id like to hit are the ones that impressed me attending this year like the Southern Indoor Championship and Wicked Weekend. Id also like to find time to get back down to Georgia to hit the SOS series as well as the GORCS series, and of course I can’t forget my most recent race with you Tyler at Thornhill for the RC Pro Series in Texas!
LRC: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
KP: Honestly I want to thank you, and all of the people who are reading this right now who love RC or motorsports. I have said this in other interviews and magazines for the real cars: RC is a huge reason I am where I am today racing professionally as well as working for a company like VP Racing Fuels. Learning how to build RC cars with attention to detail, learning how to race, how to lose, how to adjust, and how to win, are some amazing life lessons that directly translate from RC to real racing and everything else in life.
So thank you to every single guy at the race track that’s nice to a kid learning or trying to get faster, you never know where that kid will end up one day. It’s the acceptance and ease of friendship that RC racing had back then and still has to this day that is the biggest draw to young and old, slow and fast. And that’s how it should be.
Oh and one last thing! Make sure you guys are following VP Racing Hobby Fuels page on Facebook. We want it to be a place where our huge group of VP racers can chat, share content and overall be a community for great RC racing!
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